Heavy Drinking: The Untreated American Epidemic

It's Time for Safe, Private and Affordable Treatment that Works

Heavy drinking affects millions of adults across the United States.

Binge drinking is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks for men or four or more for women on the same occasion.

Binge drinking is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks for men or four or more for women on the same occasion.

• One in four (26 percent) U.S. adults binge drink. Seven percent of U.S. adults — 14.6 million people — binge drink five or more days in a single month.[i] Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks for men or four or more for women on the same occasion.[ii]

• Sixteen million people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD),[iii] which means that they experience compulsive alcohol use, loss of control and a negative emotional state when not drinking.

• The number of adults who engage in extremely high-risk drinking behaviors, including drinking at two or three times the “binge” threshold, has increased in the past decade.[iv] The increase in high-risk drinking may be especially dramatic among older adults (≥ 65), racial/ethnic minorities and women.[v]

The impact of heavy drinking — on people, on families, on the workforce — is far-reaching.

Because most people who binge drink are employed, high risk drinking has a big impact on the economy.

Because most people who binge drink are employed, high risk drinking has a big impact on the economy.

• Three out of four binge drinkers are employed [vi] and people at all income levels engage in high-risk drinking.[vii]

• More than 10 percent of children in the U.S. live with a parent who struggles with drinking.[viii]

• High-risk drinking costs the U.S. economy $81.5 billion in losses to workplace productivity each year.[ix]

• Heavy drinking can contribute to a number of negative short- and long-term health effects.

High cost, social stigma, and inaccessible, rigid treatment models keep people from the help they need.

• Ninety percent of heavy drinkers never receive any help.[x]

• People in need of treatment, but not accessing it, cite high costs, ineffectiveness, personal or professional stigma and travel as major barriers to treatment. Contrary to the pervasive “denial” trope, only one-third say they are not interested in treatment.[xi]

• At least 74 percent of rehabs use a 12-step model,[xii] where total lifelong abstinence is the barometer of success. The first 12-step program, AA, was developed in 1935, in the immediate wake of prohibition.   

Effective alternatives to traditional rehab exist and they can safely be delivered remotely.

The approach Annum takes to treatment is time-tested, supported by rigorous scientific research.

The approach Annum takes to treatment is time-tested, supported by rigorous scientific research.

• Individual needs vary, but most people can safely and successfully cut back or quit drinking from the comfort of home.

• Approaches to treatment that allow for people to moderate their drinking are at least as effective as approaches with a singular goal of abstinence.[xiii]

• Offering people the choice to quit drinking or cut back has been shown to improve success rates of treatment.[xiv]

• Several medications can help people cut back their drinking; additionally, three oral medications are approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for treating alcohol use disorders.[xv]

• Pairing outpatient cognitive behavioral therapy with appropriate medication has been shown to increase the effectiveness of treatment.[xvi]

• Behavioral therapy delivered by telephone or video has been demonstrated to be safe and effective.[xvii]

• It takes most people up to a year to change a behavior pattern.[xviii]

• Symptom recurrence rates for substance use disorders are comparable with those among other medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.[xix]

REFERENCES:

[i] SAMHSA — Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, accessed 2017, May 4). National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables [Online]. samhsa.gov

[ii]  SAMHSA (2016, accessed 2017 July 24). Binge Drinking: Terminology and Patterns of Use [Online]. samhsa.gov

[iii] SAMHSA, 2015. samhsa.gov

[iv] Hingson, R.W., et al. (2017). “Drinking Beyond the Binge Threshold: Predictors, Consequences, and Changes in the U.S.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(6), 717-727

[v] Grant, B.F., et al. (2017). “Prevalence of 12-month Alcohol Use, High-Risk Drinking and DSM-IV Alcohol Use Disorder in the United States, 2001-2002 to 2012-2013.” JAMA Psychiatry, [Online]. jamanetwork.com

[vi] SAMHSA (2014, accessed 2017, May 8). Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings [Online]. samhsa.gov

[vii] CDC — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, accessed 2017, May 12). "Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Prevalence, Frequency and Intensity Among Adults – United States, 2010." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 60(01), 14-19.

[viii] SAMHSA (2012, accessed 2017 July 27). Data Spotlight: More than 7 Million Children Live with a Parent with Alcohol Problems [Online]. media.samhsa.gov

[ix] Sacks, J.J., et al. (2015). “2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(5), 73-9.

[x] SAMHSA, 2014 — Results.

[xi] SAMHSA, 2015.

[xii] SAMHSA (2014, accessed 2017 July 27) National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS): 2013. Data on Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities [Online]. samhsa.gov

[xiii] Marlatt, G.A. & Witkiewitz, K. (2002). “Harm Reduction Approaches to Alcohol Use: Health Promotion, Prevention and Treatment.” Addictive Behaviors, 27(6), 867-86.

[xiv] van Amsterdam J. (2013). "Reduced-risk drinking as a viable treatment goal in problematic alcohol use and alcohol dependence." The Journal of Psychopharmacology, (27), 987-997.

[xv] NIAAA (2005, accessed 2017 May 5). Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much – A Clinician’s Guide [Online]. niaaa.nih.gov

[xvi] Anton, R.F., et al. (1999). “Naltrexone and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Outpatient Alcoholics: Results of a Placebo-controlled Trial.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(11), 1758-64.

[xvii] Bashshur, R. L., et al. (2016). “The Empirical Evidence for Telemedicine Interventions in Mental Disorders.” Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 22(2): 87-113.

[xviii] Lally, P., et al. (2009). “How are Habits Formed: Modelling Habit Formation in the Real World.” European Journal of Social Psychology, 40: 998-1009.

[xix] NIDA — National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012, accessed 2017, July 27). How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment? [Online]. drugabuse.gov